Purchasing the Right Bike & Helmet

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Purchasing the Right Bike & Helmet
Bike shops offer the best selection of our recommended bikes. A good quality bike is more likely to be ridden because it is more comfortable to ride, and less likely to be in disrepair. The task of selecting a bike can be challenging. Some basic design issues and ideas to consider are listed below.

  • Choose a compact or low-slung frame. This is for ease in getting on and off the bike and may prevent injury in a fall. These bikes often have a lower seat and pedals positioned closer to the ground. They may be called a youth or junior style bike.

  • Avoid competition, freestyle and mountain bikes. They are difficult to ride and not suitable for learning. The bottom bracket (where the pedal crank goes through the frame) is too high off the ground, the pedal cranks are too long and thus the pedals are generally too high off the ground at the top of the pedal stroke. Such designs are geared towards riding the bike while standing up rather than sitting on the seat. For standard 20” bikes, the pedal at it’s highest height should not be more than 17” from the ground.

  • 20” bikes should have only one hand brake connected to the back wheel. A front wheel hand brake can be dangerous and may cause the rider to take a fall over the handlebars.

  • 24” and 26” bikes may have either one or two hand brakes. For this size of bike we recommend single speed bikes in the beach cruiser style.

  • Do not select a bike with gears or a freewheel (pedals spin backwards) as this can make the bike more complicated to ride

  • Consider changing the bike seat to be wider and/or softer for comfort.

  • Be sure the rider likes the bike selected

Suggested Bikes
This list does not include all suitable bikes. Bike manufacturers introduce new models and discontinue some models. This list provides examples of many bikes commonly available. Some of the bikes listed come without a rear wheel hand brake, however a bike shop may add a hand brake to your bike for a nominal fee:
16” Tire

  • Schwinn Gremlin

  • Dyno Vertigo

  • Raleigh MXR 16

  • Raleigh Lil Honey

  • Schwinn Lil Dust

20” Tire

  • Fuji Fazer

  • Schwinn Aerostart

  • Torker Throttle

  • Performance Downforce

  • Redline Raid

  • Raleigh MXR 20

  • Diamondback RM20

  • Giant Bella

  • Trek Mystic

  • Schwinn Stardust

  • Cobo Cobo

  • Electra Hawaii

  • Raleigh Retro

  • Raleigh Jazzi

24” Tire

  • Electra Townie

  • Diamondback Della Cruz

  • Fuji Sanibel

  • Sun Revolution

  • Schwinn Corvette

  • Torker Boardwalk

  • Electra Townie

26” Tire

  • Jamis Earth Cruiser

  • Cobo Cobo

  • Gaint Simple

  • Giant Via W

  • Schwinn S1

  • Diamondback Della Cruz

  • Raleigh Retroglide

  • Schwinn Sprite Deluxe

  • Electra Townie

Bike Fit
The proper way to fit a bike for an individual with a disability is not the traditional method used by most bike shops. When your rider is sitting on the bike seat, both feet must be flat on the ground. This gives the rider the ability to put both feet down when they feel insecure or when the bike comes to a stop, helping them feel safe and confident. It also better enables the rider to learn to start the bike independently.
Purchase the largest bike that allows the rider to place both feet flat on the ground while seated on the bike. Have the rider sit on the bike at the store. People come in many shapes and sizes. Leg and torso lengths vary for each individual. The same is true for bikes; they come in many different shapes and frame sizes.
THIS CHART IS ONLY A GUIDELINE due to the differences in bike and body designs. The chart is based on the inseam of a rider’s leg rather than their height. Measure the rider’s inseam from the ground instead of from the pant leg or ankle.
Bike Sizing Chart

Bike Size

Average Inseam Needed

Average Height


19” – 23”

40” – 48”


23” – 26”

48” – 56”


26” – 29”

56” – 63”


Above 29”

Above 63”

Note: 16, 20, 24, and 26 are the size of the tire. Bike frame sizes will vary.

Bike Helmets

A properly fitted bike helmet is required for all riders at iCan Bike camps. We strongly recommend that all individuals riding a bicycle wear a helmet, regardless of how short the ride may be. Even a low speed accident can result in a serious head injury. Be a good role model-wear a helmet!

  • There are different helmets for different recreational activities. Each type of helmet is made to protect your head from the impacts common to a particular activity or sport. Skateboard helmets protect the rear of your head which is the most common location for skateboarding injuries. Bike helmets are designed to protect the front of the head, the most common area of most biking injuries. You can see the difference below.

Skateboard helmet not for bikingBike helmet

  • Buy a helmet that meets U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standards for biking.

Bike Helmet Fit

The two-finger rule is an easy guide for proper fit. You should be able to:

    • insert two fingers between the eyebrow and the helmet. This ensures proper placement on the head, not too far forward or backward, and a helmet that fits firmly and level on the rider’s head.

    • hold two fingers in a peace sign “V” with the bottom of the “V” just below the ear lobe. This is where the side straps of the helmet should be when the helmet is on the rider.

    • insert two fingers between the chin strap and your chin. The strap should be tight enough to secure the helmet, but not so tight as to constrict or be uncomfortable.

  • Helmets should be adjusted to fit each individual’s head. After adjusting, the helmet should fit securely and not shift around on the head.

  • A helmet should be checked and adjusted before each ride.

  • Helmets should be replaced if subject to a severe blow. Some manufacturers use the mantra “One crash and it’s trash”.

www.helmets.org or http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/349.pdf

Document #1026A

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